NEW YORK, May 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Financial inclusion pioneer Accion announced today that it will recognize and celebrate MasterCard president and CEO Ajay Banga for his leadership of MasterCard's – and the industry's – efforts to provide formal financial services to the billions of adults who live in poverty and struggle without access to savings, insurance, payments, and credit.
"Ajay's commitment to financial inclusion has helped millions of people as they work to realize their economic potential and build better lives," said Accion Board Chair Diana Taylor. "Ajay has pursued social and economic development throughout his career. He understands the critical importance of access to a complete range of quality financial services for families and entrepreneurs, and has worked tirelessly to achieve that important vision of a financially inclusive world."
This evening, Accion Board Chair Diana Taylor and President and CEO Michael Schlein will confer the Accion Leadership in Financial Inclusion Award to Mr. Banga during Accion's 55th Anniversary Gala, hosted by master of ceremonies Arianna Huffington.
"Around the world, two billion people live in poverty and struggle without access to basic financial services like savings, payments, insurance, or credit," said Michael Schlein. "Ajay understands that we can change that – and that we must change that. He has consistently exemplified how one person's leadership, vision, and energy can spur social and economic progress."
Through his involvement with a number of boards of directors and advisory bodies – including President Obama's Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, the U.S.-India Business Council, and the World Economic Forum – Mr. Banga is helping to address important issues affecting the world's economic development and promoting the importance of global financial inclusion.
Mr. Banga saw the positive impact that MasterCard technology could have on the lives of people excluded from mainstream financial services and made that impact a corporate objective. Under his leadership, MasterCard has already connected more than 200 million previously unbanked people and publicly committed to reaching 500 million more – including millions of merchants necessary for financial inclusion efforts to be meaningful – by 2020. Helping drive this progress are public-private partnerships, such as one in South Africa where MasterCard works with the Social Security Agency and Net1 to extend biometric-enabled financial services to millions of beneficiaries. This partnership has helped the country's banked population to grow by 8% from 2012 to 2013. These efforts are reinforced by the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth that works to apply the company's experience, assets, data, and philanthropic resources in new ways to deliver on the promise of greater economic inclusion.
MasterCard is a strategic partner to Accion, and the organizations partner to foster a financially inclusive world.
Prior to his time at MasterCard, Mr. Banga was chief executive officer of Citigroup Asia Pacific. During his career at Citigroup, he held a variety of senior management roles in the United States, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. There, he oversaw the company's efforts in microfinance. Mr. Banga began his career at Nestlé, India, where for 13 years he worked on assignments spanning sales, marketing, and general management. He also spent two years with PepsiCo, where he was instrumental in launching its fast food franchises in India as the economy liberalized. He is a graduate of Delhi University and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Accion is a global nonprofit dedicated to building a financially inclusive world with economic opportunity for all, by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. We are building the next generation of top-tier microfinance institutions, and over more than 50 years have helped build 65 such institutions in 32 countries on four continents that today reach millions of clients. Our impact investing initiatives are pushing beyond microfinance to catalyze more than 20 innovative start-ups dedicated to improving the efficiency, reach, and scope of financial services for the poor. And our Center for Financial Inclusion is helping to build a stronger industry with high standards and broad engagement. Currently, our work spans nearly two dozen countries, including the U.S., where we are the nation's largest nonprofit microfinance network. For further information, visit http://www.accion.org.
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